Top NATO diplomats focus on settling Afghan crisis | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Top NATO diplomats focus on settling Afghan crisis

On Wednesday, the Brussels-hosted conference for NATO’s foreign ministers focused on the Afghanistan settlement, Kommersant writes. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg admitted that the situation is not easy and many players, including Moscow, could contribute to hammering out a settlement. Meanwhile, the Afghan peace process fits the current context of Russian-US relations, characterized now by rivalry rather than cooperation, the paper writes. Stoltenberg told Kommersant that the alliance is not against Moscow’s initiative to host a direct inclusive inter-Afghan dialogue, but it’s up to Afghan citizens to have a leading role in the peace process. US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is currently on a tour of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Russia, the paper says. The US diplomat is due to visit Moscow on December 7 and meet with Russia’s Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov. The talks are expected to focus on Russian-US cooperation on Afghanistan. However, a leading expert at the Center of Contemporary Afghanistan Studies, Andrey Serenko, doubts that this cooperation could be established given the current political climate. According to the expert, Washington’s Afghan envoy is conducting an extensive tour with the goal of "demonstrating that the US is not planning to yield its central role in the Afghan settlement to anyone." "The important thing is not what will be discussed in Moscow, but the signal that Khalilzad will send after this to the Taliban. For example, he may make it clear that they should not deal with Russia."